January 29, 2015
The end of the year is always ushered in with a wave of excitement, with both individuals and organizations alike reviewing the best things to have happened, and eagerly anticipating those yet to come. Plans are made, goals are set, and all in one night the slate is cleaned and we begin again.
This process, however, isn’t limited to just individuals and organizations, we see it in new governmental agendas impacting whole countries, successes and failures of international and domestic policies, as well as predictions of what will be the biggest issues entire continents will face in the coming year.
Earlier this month, the Africa Growth Initiative at the Brookings Institute released an in-depth report on what they believe to be the top priorities for Africa in 2015. The research conducted by the scholars involved in the initiative was extremely detailed, with topics ranging from the upcoming political elections, economic development throughout Africa, the post-2015 agenda, and even Ebola all made the cut. Reviewing the report, each area was thoroughly considered and does a fine job of explaining to the reader the reasoning behind its inclusion and what we can possibly expect to see in terms of impact on the continent and the specific countries.
Something interesting to note, however, is that education was not included as a top priority in this particular list. Perhaps because education is able to be intertwined into each of the topical areas, that its blatant inclusion was deemed unnecessary or over redundant, there is after all an education specific portion of the post-2015 agenda. However, in certain instances, for example the elections in Nigeria, it seemed pertinent to note that as it stands currently, Nigeria is one of the most dangerous places to obtain a free education; particularly for female students. Creating a clear connection to the vital importance the upcoming presidential elections will play in having a significant influence over both the quality and overall safety of these public institutions. Additionally, when one thinks about the history of post-election violence jeopardizing the welfare of Nigerian citizens and creating regional instability, it would seem that the inclusion of how to protect and monitor educational institutions should be specifically mentioned. While we understand education is a general understood norm as we review the top priorities for Africa, it should be promoted and highlighted within these components.
The article also lists aspects of the upcoming post-2015 agenda, another area where education is not, but could have been highlighted. There are three prongs to the agenda: job creation, infrastructure and governance, and peace/security/institutional reform. Particularly as they relate to Africa, we see the growth of the labor force, large numbers of youth, and increasing inequality. Education can be a catalyst for creating a more skilled labor force and is one of the major overhauls that require reform on a public level.
So it begs the question, “Why not include education as its own priority for 2015?”
If we are to see continued growth in Africa in 2015 and beyond, it is imperative to begin highlighting education within the aspects of the shifting political agendas. There are many facets of education that can aid a country in their development progress and even strengthen governmental platforms. Education is, and always will be, a top priority here at the IDP Foundation, as we understand its crucial impact on the human story of individuals, families, communities, nations and the entire globalized world we live in.